-->

New car reviews

2011 Lexus GX 460

Lexus GX 460 is luxurious mid-size SUV with V8 power and 4WD

Bob Plunkett, Fri, 01 Oct 2010 01:43:47 PDT

ASTLE ROCK, Utah -- We're cruising through thin air at high altitude on an interstate slab flowing out of Wyoming, beating a snaky path through Echo Canyon, etched in the Big Piney Mountains of the Wasatch Range, and bound for the Utah capital of Salt Lake City.

A drizzling mist generated from low-slung clouds coats the pavement ahead of us, setting up potentially dangerous driving conditions with unseen slippery spots which can spin a tire and send a vehicle flying toward disaster in an unplanned rendezvous with a ditch.

That's not the way our cushy 2011 Lexus GX 460 sport utility vehicle plays it, however, due to sure-footed tire grip set in place by a full-time four-wheel-drive (4WD) system with Torsen limited-slip center differential which can vary the power to front and rear wheels and can be locked electronically on wet pavement in inclement weather.

That's not the way our cushy 2011 Lexus GX 460 sport utility vehicle plays it, however, due to sure-footed tire grip set in place by a full-time four-wheel-drive (4WD) system with Torsen limited-slip center differential which can vary the power to front and rear wheels and can be locked electronically on wet pavement in inclement weather.

Riding in a machine with a sophisticated electronically controlled 4WD mechanism which applies traction to all wheels, you know you can tackle with confidence any earthly element, whether wet pavement or slick snow, sticky mud, even rocks or serious off-road rough stuff.

The mid-size GX 460 is a formidable SUV with a tall stance, hefty V8 engine spewing massive torque muscle, extensive on-board safety equipment and high-tech vehicle control systems, plus a plush passenger compartment to accommodate seven on three tiers of seats with multiple zones for climate, comfort and audio-video entertainment.

GX 460 has a high-strength and super-rigid structure based on a ladder-format platform with twist-resisting boxed steel side rails which forms a rigid foundation to support a welded steel body.

The suspension consists of an independent double wishbone design up front with coil springs over gas shocks and stabilizer bar plus a rigid axle in back set in four-link scheme also with springs over shocks and stabilizer bar.

Included is the kinetic dynamic suspension system (KDSS) which disconnects stabilizer bars to allow for more vertical travel of the axle and better suspension articulation when rolling over dicey terrain.

Also aboard is an electronic four-wheel traction control system labeled A-TRAC (active traction control).

Optional for off-road travel, the Lexus crawl control (CRAWL) device is an electro-mechanical system that works with the transfer case set in low range regulating engine speed and output as well as brakes to send the vehicle forward or backward at a low speed. It incorporates downhill assist control (DAC), which aids in a steep descent without driver intervention.

On tap to help stop the 5305-pound GX 460 are four big disc brakes tied to electronic devices as acronyms in car safety: ABS (anti-lock brake system), VSC (vehicle stability control), ECTS (electronically controlled throttle system), and VDIM (vehicle dynamics integrated management) system.

The 2011 GX 460 also scores a new brake override system which automatically pares engine power when the brake pedal and accelerator are actuated simultaneously.

Lexus maxes hardware for safety on the GX 460 with ten air bags aboard including curtain-style air bags concealed in headliners above side windows for three rows, seat-mounted side air bags for outboard seats on the first two rows, even knee air bags for front riders.

GX 460 derives its nameplate in recognition of the size of the engine. Displacing 4.6 liters, the aluminum V8 features continuous dual VVT-i (variable valve timing with intelligence).

It delivers 301 hp at 5500 rpm plus big torque of 329 lb-ft at 3500 rpm. And the engine links to an electronically controlled automatic transmission featuring six forward speeds and a sequential shifter. The GX drinks 91-octane Premium unleaded fuel and earns EPA fuel economy numbers of 15 mpg City and 20 mpg Highway.

A classy external design enables the GX 460 to stand out in a crowd of cars, not just from the tall stance but a visual character which looks strong and muscular.

With slick lines and softly rolled edges, the overall shape seems vaguely akin to the former version, although specific changes streamline and modernize it.

The face holds a three-bar grille and flanking compound headlamp clusters with projector lenses for low beam and Halogen lamps for high beams. In the lower front bumper there are chrome-ringed foglamps in place.

A sloped and stepped hood rises to a flush-mount windshield raked sharply to control wind noise. On each side, door openings stretch wide for easy entry as bulging fenders accent the wheels and a low step rail below doors anchors the body to the ground.

The redesigned GX 460 cabin feels plush and luxurious, and multiple means to control noise and vibration result in a far more quiet and isolated compartment that's rare for a sport-ute.

Layout of the cabin consists of a pair of large bucket seats on the front row, a folding bench with 40/20/40 split on the second row, and back-row 50/50 split seats which fold flush to the floor via a power switch. The instrument panel contains Optitron electro-luminescent gauges in a vivid display.

Soft leather -- tinted to ecru, black or sepia -- coats all seats, headrests, armrests, door panels, the shift knob and steering wheel. And real wood -- Auburn Bubinga -- trims the instrument panel, glove box and center console.

Stock gear ranges from power controls for windows and mirrors to SmartAccess with push-button start/stop and door unlock settings, automatic dual climate controls, steering wheel audio controls, power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel column, courtesy lamps mounted on doors, 10-way power controls for the two front bucket seats, heated and ventilated front seats, auto-dimming electrochromic rearview mirror and a nine-speaker Lexus Premium Audio system with AM/FM/CDx6/MP3/WMA/XM.

The GX 460 Premium edition adds a rear air suspension, adaptive variable suspension and auto level, HID headlamps with adaptive front lighting system, electrochromic outer mirrors with auto retract, a heated steering wheel with wood trim, semi-aniline perforated leather on seats, heated second-row outer seats and illuminated front scuff plates.

Lexus lists the 2011 GX 460 at $52,345, or $57,140 for a GX 460 Premium.

 

 


2011 Lexus GX 460 on carlist.com


2011 Lexus GX 460 on carlist.com


2011 Lexus GX 460 on carlist.com


2011 Lexus GX 460 on carlist.com

×
scroll up